It features two upgraded 3rd Gen Scarlett mic preamps: “with optional Air setting to reproduce the Air effect of Focus rite’s original ISA mic preamp, giving your vocal recordings a brighter, more open sound.”
The CM25 MkIII condenser mic is a pleasure to use, and we feel it edges (if ever so slightly) over the AT2035 in terms of producing faithfully accurate recordings.
A quality soundcard, microphone and all the trimmings are provided to get you creating professional sounding home recordings in no time at all.
✔ 3rd-gen issue, the latest and greatest Scarlett interfaces. ✔ Absolutely everything you need to get started with music production, including ProTools First, Live Lite and other plugins.
✔ Established reputation as the leader in budget audio products.
The Behringer U-PHORIA UM2 is the ideal audio interface for recording everything from vocals to microphones and instruments. Featuring a studio-grade +48 V-powered XENYX mic preamp, the Behringer UM2 has a sampling rate of up to 48 kHz audio resolution.
The U-PHORIA UM2 is actually a fairly decent audio interface, and Behringer has really proven themselves as a force majeure in the audio world in recent times. Unlike its competitor (the Focusrite Scarlett), the U-PHORIA UM2 does have a plastic chassis which does give the impression of low-quality — but it does everything it’s supposed to.
The Q6 microphone has a high gain, low impedance design, and has a similar tonal characteristic of the Shure SM58. While it’s not a condenser microphone, every home studio needs at least one dynamic microphone — and it will suffice if you’re just looking to get started with music production.
To our surprise, the headphone preamps crank, and provide plenty of volume for those of you who like mixing loud. Just be responsible with that, please. Tinnitus sucks. The headphones are nothing to shout and dance about — but they’re enough to get you on your way to producing finished songs.
✔ Everything you need to get started at an unbeatable price. ✔ Cables and accessories included.
✘ Headphones feel a little ‘cheap’, and you might want to upgrade these as you progress.
✘ No software bundled in.
Combining the critically acclaimed AIR 192|4 interface, HDH40 headphones, a Nova Black condenser microphone, XLR cable and the premium AIR Series Software Suite, laying down vocal tracks, recording electric and acoustic instruments and adding voice-overs to multimedia projects has never been easier.
The M-Audio M-Track 2×2 is a ‘latency-free’ interface, which is really just marketing speak for “low latency” (let’s be real here). That being said, provided you have a fast enough computer, this soundcard does give you a pretty hassle-free experience when it comes to recording.
M-Audio’s Nova Black large-diaphragm condenser microphone is perfect for both podcasting and recording applications — it sounds decent on vocals, guitars and percussion, and is pretty low-noise considering how inexpensive it is.
So, what about headphones? They’re fine, as far as budget headphones go. They’re durable, rugged, and provide a fairly flat response curve (great for mixing). The padding is fairly thick, and might make your ears sweat a little in summer, but that’s forgivable because they’re super comfy to wear for long sessions.
All-round, this is a perfect vocal recording studio kit that’s perfect for the aspiring producer looking to whip up a solid demo with ease.
✔ Pro Tools First, Eleven Lite and Xpand!2 included.
✔ Microphone and headphones sound great. ✔ Cables included.
Based on the AudioBox USB 96 audio/MIDI interface and award-winning Studio One recording and production software, PreSonus AudioBox 96 Studio is great for creating multitrack recordings, demos, live recordings, podcasts, field recordings for video and sound effects, and much more.
PreSonus have built up a solid reputation over the years for their quality audio gear, so it was interesting to check out their budget offering and see how many corners they could get away with cutting by offering a package at such a cheap price.
Turns out, not many corners were cut at all. The interface is sturdy as hell, and has two combo mic/line ins, two outs and a headphone+MIDI connection. Whether you want to plug your guitar and microphone in simultaneously and perform your heart out, or simply multitrack record — this interface has you covered. We found no issues with drivers, latency or scratchy knobs. The M7 microphone included does a fair job of capturing vocals and instruments up close.
The HD7 headphones included are passable. They’re lighter and flimsier than some of the other ones on here, but they sound great for the price. They’re not too harsh in the top-end, and provide ample low-end response to help you get your bass sounding nice and tight. The detail on these cans is impressive.
The software bundle in this one has to be commended — you get Studio One Artist, a fully-fledged DAW with 26 plugins and instruments. The other bundles do come with Protools First and Ableton Lite, however, they are limited in their functions (due to them being ‘light’ versions).
✔ Studio One Artist included.
✔ The upper end of ‘budget’ gear. ✔ Cables included.
✘ No pop filter.
✘ The bit-depth of the interface is limited to 24 bits (though this is probably enough for most beginners)